On the sixth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Partner- ship for a Secure America (PSA) announced an initiative to monitor and evaluate implementation of key unfulfilled recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. One of the top priorities of this effort was to follow up on the Commission’s recommendation that the US government apply maximum effort to preventing a WMD terror attack on the United States by combating proliferation of weapons and materials around the world.
In 2004, the 9/11 Commission concluded that Al Qaeda still sought to commit major terrorist attacks against the United States, and that in the future they and other terrorists would try to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. To that end, the Commissioners advised the President and Congress that “preventing the proliferation of these weapons warrants a maximum effort.”
In 2005, the 9/11 Public Discourse Project found that the US government had made “insufficient progress” in implementing that recommendation, giving implementation efforts a “D” on its final report card. That same report concluded that “prevent- ing terrorists from gaining access to weap- ons of mass destruction must be elevated above all other problems of national security because it represents the greatest threat to the American people.” In 2006, the Partnership for a Secure America echoed this conclusion in a statement signed by twenty-two former senior officials from both parties.
Today, almost seven years after the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the threat of a new, major terrorist attack on the United States is still very real. A nuclear, chemical or biological weapon in the hands of terrorists remains the single greatest threat to our nation. While progress has been made in securing these weapons and materials, we are still dangerously vulner- able. That is why our next President, in close cooperation with the US Congress, must elevate to the highest priority our efforts to secure these weapons and materials at their source, and prevent their transit into the United States.
This special report contains the results of analysis by independ- ent experts who examined US government programs to prevent nuclear, chemical, and biological terrorism. These expert analyses focused on the time period following the 9/11 Public Discourse Project’s 2005 assessment through the present, to determine in particular whether and what additional progress has been made against the threat of WMD terrorism. Based on the experts’ conclusions, additional research and interviews, and the assessments of our bipartisan Advisory Board, PSA has assembled this Report Card on US government efforts to prevent WMD terrorism.